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China slaps back at latest United States tariffs in trade war escalation

China slapped 25 per cent tariffs on an additional US$16 billion in American goods on Thursday – following a similar move by the United States in their escalating trade war.

The escalation came despite Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen’s current visit to Washington for talks with US Treasury undersecretary David Malpass, in an effort to reduce tensions.

A statement released by the Finance Ministry said the new tariffs had been imposed on US goods after Washington slapped the same level of tariffs on China on Thursday.

A statement released by China’s Commerce Ministry said the latest tariffs by the US were a violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

“China has no alternative but to take countermeasures,” it said.

The Chinese tariff list covers 333 products including large passenger cars, motorcycles and baby carriages.

The US added its latest 25 per cent tariffs on Thursday, completing Donald Trump’s first round of measures targeting US$50 billion in Chinese products. Tariffs on US$34 billion in goods were imposed on July 6.

Observers played down the prospect of a breakthrough in the talks between Wang and Malpass, saying they expected tensions to increase further.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow last week warned that China must not underestimate Trump’s determination to force China to change its trade practices.

“The Chinese government, in its totality, must not underestimate President Trump’s toughness and willingness to continue this battle to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers and quotas, to stop the theft of intellectual property and to stop the forced transfer of technology,” Kudlow told US business news network CNBC.

Courtesy: South China Morning Post